• Tom Mills

Color slide film and E6 processing

The E-6 development kit I ordered from CineStill Film finally arrived yesterday and as promised in my last post, I processed the last two remaining rolls of old film I had laying around; two rolls of Fuji Provia 100F color slide film, a 120 roll and a 35mm roll. After unboxing the ingredients, mixing the chemistry, and getting everything up to the proper temperature, I loaded the first roll into my trusty Paterson developing tank, developed the film, and to my delight, I had images, positive color images!


I know color slide film is finer grained than color negative film and I know that colors come out much more vivid on slides than color negatives but wow, I was blown away with the intensity of the colors after developing the film.

View of Capitol from USBG, Fall 2005. Nikon F4, 50mm f/1.8 D, Fuji Provia 100F

The resolution and details of the scanned images were also noticeably better with slide film; I didn't get that grainy "film" look that I see in my negative film scans, even with film that was sitting in a drawer for 10+ years. In this exterior shot of the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC below, I could clearly make out all the details of the stone and the flowing water, all this without having to fluid mount the film for scanning; in fact, I was sloppier than usual since I wasn't sure the images would turn out given the age of the film and the fact that I'd never processed E-6 before.

National Museum of the American Indian, Fall 2005, Washington DC. Nikon F4, 50mm f/1.8 D, Fuji Provia 100F

I was pleasantly surprised to see a picture of the corpse flower from the US Botanical Gardens in one of the rolls of film I developed; in this case, the November 2005 bloom. I missed the actual bloom, but it was still amazing to see the flower in it's pre-bloom state.... great memory! The colors came through nicely and and the scan was good enough to show water misting to keep the tropical section of the USBG warm and humid.

Corpse flower ready to bloom, Fall 2005, USBG. Nikon F4, 50mm f/1.8 D, Fuji Provia 100F

Here's another example of remarkable color and resolution, again inside the USBG. I thought the bokeh from shooting wide open on 100 ISO film came through nicely.

Flowers at the USBG, circa 2005, Nikon F4, 50mm f/1.8 D, Fuji Provia 100F

Unfortunately, the 120 roll didn't develop as well as I'd hoped. I think I didn't wrap the film tightly enough after exposing; appears as though I was a victim of edge fog. Really had to be the only explanation since I purchased, loaded, and exposed both the 120 roll and 35mm rolls around the same time and I was consistent in the development process for both rolls. 645 film gives much more image area so a crop in post processing could salvage most of the image if I really wanted to keep any; good news is that I didn't really see any images I'd keep with the exception of one to prove the vintage of the roll of film I developed... Here's a shot of my amazing Apple Powerbook G4 on a desk in the office of a home I moved out of a long time ago...

PowerBook G4 on desk, Contax 645, 80mm f/2 Planar, Kodak Provia 100F

I have one roll of unexposed 35mm Velvia left from 2005 stash that has been stored in the refrigerator (from move to move); if the exposed film that sat in a drawer for that long came out the way it did, I'm pretty sure the refrigerated stuff will be just as good if not better. I also went ahead and ordered some 120 Provia 100F to shoot... I mean, why not, I have the chemistry now, right?

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